Friday, March 28, 2014

Redemption

“As I settled myself down into the deep cushions of the soft couch, the room felt stuffy and smelled of a floral scent.  It felt safe enough for the time being.  I was there to listen, there to share, there to receive counsel and hopefully there to find healing.  As I heard his voice chills ran down my spine as he replayed his version of the story out loud.  I trembled as I replayed the hurt.  I did not even know this person anymore.  Many things I had once believed had been removed as the realization set in that the many years of my life had been nothing more than mountains of lies.  Wrapping my head around a story that made no sense quickly left me feeling confused and uncertain of my surroundings.  I wanted to jump up from the comfort of the couch that seemed to engulf me and run to the door but then a voice from across the room grabbed my attention and brought me back into the moment.  The voice wanted to know my thoughts,  I tried to speak but I could not breathe.  I did not realize the amount of my tears until I had to make my mouth form words.  What words were there left to say anyway?  It just did not seem to matter anymore because truthfully I no longer knew what was real and what was a lie.  Then I heard the man across the room speak.  His eyes locked on the person at the other end of the couch as he said, “you have completely broken her spirit.  You have crushed and destroyed her.”  Those words pierced into my heart like a dagger.  I knew they were true but I had tried so hard to be strong.  I did not want to be broken and most definitely did not want to be crushed.  How could I allow someone to do that to me?  How did it get this far out of control.  Where was God?  Why was He not there to protect my heart?  It needed protecting.  Then that voice from across the room spoke again.  As I looked up his eyes were locked on mine as he said,  “though you are broken now, you will be ok.  No matter what happens next, you will be ok.”  What?  My thoughts poured out like a faucet running full stream.  I had no clue what he was talking about because nothing in my life felt ok and I was confident nothing ever would again.”


It brings a smile to my heart as I look at all that God has blessed my life with over the last two years.  He has been so good to me.  So often Joel 2:25 will play through my mind. “I will compensate you for the years the locusts have eaten.”  Such a remarkable reminder that God restores to us what we have lost through the valleys, the struggles, the chastising.  


Over the past couple of months I have been participating in a study on the book of Hosea.  As my pastor’s wife has led us through this remarkable journey of God’s redeeming love I have been impacted greatly by its truth and relevance in my own life.  I have witnessed and experienced the unmistakable beauty and amazement  of the redeeming love of God and I am constantly overwhelmed by it.  I once was broken and crushed too but not any longer.


So far one of the most significant teachings through this study came from the week we studied Hosea 5:1-6:3.  My pastor’s wife shared Deuteronomy 32:39 with us which says,


“Look now; I myself am He! There is no other god but Me! I am the one who kills and gives life; I am the one who wounds and heals; no one can be rescued from my powerful hand!”


What a powerful verse.  Especially the words, “I am the one who wounds and heals.”  She explained that the Hebrew word for wound means to crush, smash, shatter or wound severely while the Hebrew word for heal means to make whole, to repair thoroughly.  She summed it up by saying that God wanted to wound in order to heal.  Wow! That is a lot in a few short words.  Because you were not there to hear the entire teaching let me explain that we are discussing Israel's defiance of God.  They have turned their back on Him and chosen to go their own way, do their own thing.  It is such a relatable topic because every believer struggles with taking control of their life and wanting to do their own thing.  Or at least I know I do.  With that said, God allows us to take the road we choose, often the wrong road leaving us to suffer the consequences.  When we choose that road, we find ourselves in deep water oftentimes drowning from the weight of our bad choices (sometimes because of the bad choices of others) and are severely wounded.  God allows us to take those roads, face those consequences, enduring the discipline so that we can be made whole and find true healing in Him.  He allows us to suffer so that we will find our way back to Him.  Is that not remarkable?  We can turn away, choose other things and yet He will go out of His way to grab our attention, confront us and draw us back into His arms!  I am overwhelmed by His goodness yet again!


As we ended that lesson, my pastor’s wife said something that resonated so deeply within me because of the incredible truth.  She said, “Eventually the pain gives way to rain that refreshes and makes fruitful.”  That is me.  I never thought the pain would end.  I did not believe I would ever be “ok” again.  The pain felt never ending.  But it did.  God allowed the wounds that cut so deep into my heart to break me into a million pieces in order for me to become so desperate for Him that I had to depend solely on Him to heal me completely.  And He did.  And not only did He heal me but He restored to me not just everything that had been taken through the pain but He gave me back even more.  More love, more grace, more knowledge and understanding of who He is, a longing to be more like Him and more of Him to share with others.


Scripture tells us that God does not waste our pain because He wants us to share our journey with others so that others may discover His healing and redeeming love as well. As I have found healing it has become my greatest joy to share what He has done for me so that others will know His redeeming love!


“He (God) comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”


2 Corinthians 1:4